Twins Ben and Zach Oberhaus describe their high school success as a climb of “mutual ascent,” not an elbow-throwing contest.
The brothers, who will graduate from St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo today, rank among the Top 10 students in their 191-member class and said they helped hold each other academically accountable.
“If you don’t have that other person working just as hard as you, you’re not going to rise as high,” said Zach, who will study biomedical engineering at Purdue University.
From Latin to lacrosse, the 18-year-old Swanton twins learned and played together, not against each other. “I wouldn’t say there was ever competition ..., we knew we were always pretty high-achieving,” said Ben, bound for Ohio State University, who added that instead they focused on maintaining a strong work ethic.
The Oberhaus twins are one of several academically successful sibling sets who will graduate from area high schools this spring.
Twins Ashley and Alexis Bielski of Sylvania are in the top 10 percent of the Northview High School class of 320 students, a Sylvania schools spokesman said. They are among 10 sets of twins who will graduate from the district’s two high schools, she said.
And Monroe High School will graduate a true triple threat. The Misiak triplets — Ian, Jillyan, and Taylor Misiak of Monroe — will finish in the Top 10 students among their class of about 500. The 18-year-olds plan to sit together at the May 31 ceremony, where their names will be called one after the other, each with a summa cum laude distinction.
“I feel like we are always going to get compared just because we are triplets, but everyone treats us like we’re normal,” said Taylor, who plans to study athletic training at Anderson University in Indiana, where Ian also will enroll to study business marketing.
Jillyan chose to take another route. The singer, who has performed the national anthem at Mud Hens games (“She killed it,” said Taylor),, will attend Cedarville University and is interested in social work.
Both the Oberhaus twins and the Misiak triplets picked their colleges based on academic programs and personal priorities, instead of hinging a decision on where their siblings were headed.
The Misiaks said their success is fueled partly by pushing each other in friendly competition. But they’re quick to dole out compliments and take pride in each other’s accomplishments.
Ian describes Taylor as the “glue” in the family, a peacemaker who stands back and speaks after everyone else is done talking. Taylor called Ian the group’s goof and pegged Jillyan as the outspoken and outgoing sibling.
Ian is the oldest, but only “by a minute,” both his sisters immediately chimed in.
The three were in the same kindergarten class but had different classrooms through elementary school. In high school, they occasionally found themselves in the same class, such as during their senior-year Advanced Placement English course.
“They are very good students, and they are very active in class,” said English teacher Scott McCloskey. “They are very personable. They are well liked by the staff and the students.”
Mr. McCloskey said Ian mentioned his sisters during a class presentation, but mostly the triplets interact like other students in the advanced class.
Ian said their parents, Beth and Michael Misiak, brought them up to be individuals and not maintain an identity solely defined as triplets.
“A lot of times triplets don’t really get that whole independent sort of mind-set,” he said, adding that he was taught “not to be the Misiaks, but to be Ian Misiak.”
“They just wanted us to be ourselves and not be labeled as ‘oh, there’s the triplets,’ ” Jillyan said.
For each birthday, they had three separate cakes and each sibling invited their own guests. But they also share some things; all three work at Harbortown RV Resort in Monroe.
“I’ve been very blessed to have really good kids,” said their mother, who is preparing for a very quiet house come fall. “They just try. That’s all my husband and I ever really said, ‘Just give it your best and let’s just see what happens.’ ”
The three will share one other thing before launching into life after high school: One big graduation party.
Contact Vanessa McCray at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6065.